The full moon has played an important role in many religions and beliefs. In Hinduism, there is a belief that the biweekly cycle of the moon has a great influence on the human anatomy, just as it affects the tides and the animal kingdom in many ways. During a full moon, a person may tend to become restless, irritable, and short-tempered, showing signs of behavior that hint at “lunacy,” a term derived from the Latin word for moon. This belief paves the way for the practice of specific rituals for the days of the new moon and full moon.
Keeping a fast is one of the most common practices of Hinduism. This is also observed in Purnima (Hindi for full moon). The full moon is considered auspicious in the Hindu calendar and most devotees observe fasting during the day and pray to the presiding deity, Lord Vishnu or his avatars as Krishna. It is after a day of fasting that during the afternoon / evening they eat something light, predominantly vegetarian.
How does fasting help? What does my food have to do with the full moon?
Fasting is consuming little or no food, as the belief is that the full moon affects our minds and bodies promoting “lunatic” behavior. Fasting reduces the acid content in our system, slows down the metabolic rate, and increases endurance. This restores the balance of the body and mind. Accompanied with meditation and or prayer, it helps to keep our emotions and thoughts in line allowing us to control random outbursts of temper.
PS there will always be people who will tell you / «Well, eating makes me happy» It is true that there is anger at being hungry, but if eating is what makes you happy, that is an indication of some disorder, you will not find happiness in food and I am certain that food is not what makes you happy, rather its everything that is accompanied by it, the experience you live or try to escape while consuming food.
The day of Amavasya, the new moon, is also revered
The Hindu calendar follows the lunar cycle and Amavasya, the night of the new moon, falls at the beginning of the new lunar month, which lasts for about 30 days. Most Hindus fast on that day and offer food to their ancestors.
This is because in the Garuda Purana (Puranas are ancient texts) it is believed that Lord Vishnu said that the ancestors come to see their descendants, and if they return without some kind of offering, they are usually upset. The food offering is called “shraddha.”
There are festivals, such as Diwali (Hindu New Year) which fall on these days, both as well as Amavasya, marking a new beginning.
At present, only those who follow religion in any way are those who follow these customs. Most of the second generation of Hindus, especially those outside India, do not celebrate the day with such vigor.
How is fasting observed, can I have a feast afterwards?
Generally, the Purnima fast lasts 12 hours, from sunrise to sunset. People fasting do not consume rice, wheat, legumes, cereals, or salt during this time. Some devotees take fruit and milk, but others follow it rigidly and even avoid water depending on their endurance capacity. They spend time praying to Lord Vishnu and leading the holy Shree Satya Narayana Vrata Puja. At night, after sighting the moon, they eat ‘prasad’ or divine food, food with which they has been blessed along with some light food.
I personally do not know anyone who would be praying the whole day, I think its a matter of priests or retired people who are looking for moksha. Regular folks take a while to sing the hymns, pray and go through the day without eating until the hour.
The Satnarayan prayer during the full moon
Satnarayan is one of the days that falls during the full moon. Lord Satyanarayan is a manifestation of Vishnu, also known as Narayan, the one who symbolizes eternal truth. This incarnation of Vishnu represents the truth and only the truth.
One of the pujas (prayers) that Hindus perform most frequently is the Satyanarayan Puja, which can also be performed on any normal day. It is not necessary to wait for a festival to organize it. However, the ekadashi day (eleventh day of the lunar fortnight according to the Hindu luni-solar calendar) and the Purnima day (full moon) are considered ideal for offering puja to Lord Satyanarayan.
Anyone, regardless of caste, creed, age and gender, can bid at home or at work. By being focused on the truth, the Lord places emphasis on bhakti (devotion) and not on the stature, financial background or caste of a devotee or the occasion.
This specific puja is meant to erase all barriers in society and bring everyone together as a unit to chant the name of God, which represents eternal truth.
I hope you liked this article, I personally do not celebrate the day but it is curious to see how some relatives do. I invite them to eat out and it turns out to be full moon day, I cancel immediatly. Its bound to be a a day of vegetarian food alone – In spain, vegetarian food sucks. Anyway, the next time you see the full moon, you will know that its not there just for werewolves, but for people who are practicing Satyanarayan puja too!.